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November 28, 2013
What am I thankful for? I’m thankful I forgot to check the mail yesterday. I walked down to the mailbox before leaving for my mother-in- law’s house for our yearly feast and found an advance copy of The Well-Played Life by my friend and mentor, Leonard Sweet.
I’m also very thankful for our yearly Annual Conference in the #UMC where Len spoke three years ago. I received a message from a mutual friend that Len needed a ride from his hotel to the conference. Since I had heard some good things about him, I decided it would be “the Christian thing” to pick him up. Right, yeah, you get a chance to meet the keynote speaker in advance. How great is that?
Since that time, Len has become a wonderful friend and mentor. I am looking forward to reviewing this book as I’ve had many of the ideas bounced off my cohort by Len. The great thing is that Len sent me this copy knowing quite a few things about me.
One, I am a gamer. I play games.
Two, I am a playful person and am sometimes not taken seriously because of it or, the inverse occurs, people sometimes take my playfulness too seriously.
Three, I don’t pull any punches. I’m not afraid to disagree with you, challenge you, and/or frustrate you.
At the end of the day, though, I will still love you and call you friend. So, I’m thankful for my friend, Leonard Sweet, who has guided, affirmed, and given me a quick kick in the rear over the past few years.
Most of all, though, I am thankful that he has told me it is quite alright to have so much fun at what I do.
Happy Thanksgiving, Len.
November 22, 2013
Today the web is abuzz with articles about a man who died fifty years ago today. His life had a tremendous impact on society and, personally, it has touched me in a number of ways. In fact, my first published article, in the early 1990s, was in my hometown newspaper and in it I quoted one of this man’s most famous sayings:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Excerpt From: C. S. Lewis. “Mere Christianity.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/REUFv.l
Yes, Clive Staples Lewis. My story with his writings is long and varied. In brief, when I first came to faith I avoided the Chronicles of Narnia because it was that dreaded “fantasy writing” I associated with my earlier “heathen years.” Thankfully, after coming to faith, I attended a good undergraduate school and found out, wonder of wonders, that Lewis is a Christian and, in fact, the same Lewis who had written Mere Christianity. (My daughter reminds me to use the present tense since I’ve often told her our God is a God of the living, not the dead. So, I try to refer to those gone on before us in the present tense.) For some reason, I had not made the real connect between the CS Lewis who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia and the CS Lewis who wrote Mere Christianity. Weird, eh?
Since those days, I have come back to reading fantasy of all stripes and have enjoy it immensely. The writers don’t have to be Christian and, in fact, I read many who are not people of faith at all. I realize many of these writers are speaking about the journey of faith even when they don’t realize it. (Though I suspect more realize it than are willing to admit it.)
Of course, I attribute this return to reading fantasy to CS Lewis and even though some find his Narnia books a bit childish this is what I enjoy about them the most! It’s a time where I can return to the beauty of childhood where animals talk, there is mystery in the world which cannot always be answered, Father Christmas is roaming about, and there is a Great Lion who will protect, teach, and guide us as we journey with Him through strange and interesting lands.
So, on this day, I am remembering a great writer and a great man. Someone who has, in my opinion, had a greater impact on people of faith in the 20th century than most any other writer. Most of all, though, I am reminded of the above quote which stuck in the heart of a young wannabe preacher over twenty years ago and still speaks to me today.
God’s Best Always and in All Ways,
November 18, 2013
So, it’s almost 2:00 AM on a Sunday and I’m still awake. I’ve been wrestling with sermons over the coming weeks and am a bit frustrated. Normally I try to prepare my sermons some time in advance just in case “things come up.” You see, in the life of a pastor, anything could happen. You never know when someone might become ill (your own children included!), a person may pass on, or what else might come up.
Considering I’m also in the ordination process with the United Methodist Church there are also quite a few extra things on my plate. I have also been trying to work on a doctorate over the last year and that has put a number of extra things on my plate. It also doesn’t help that I’m a voracious read who has let his own reading list pile up as well.
So, needless to say, I’m feeling a bit wrung out. I don’t feel as if I’ve really been seeking God’s help in preparing these upcoming sermons so I have spent the last hour just reading Scripture and trying to find a direction in which to point. You see, I preach mostly from the Revised Common Lectionary and have been doing so for the last five years. Considering the Lectionary is on a three year cycle one might think it would be easy to go back a few years and read over old sermons and possibly reuse them. This isn’t always a bad thing but, in this case, nothing was working out.
So, what have I done? Why am I still up? Have been able to work anything out? The short answer is, “Yes, I think so.” I decided to start reading the Scriptures through the lens of my geeky self. I looked at the Advent texts with geeky eyes and believe I’ve finally come up with something for this coming season and hope it will speak into the life of the church. As the geekpreacher, you’d think this would be fairly easy but it hasn’t. Strangely enough, I don’t normally preach a lot of geeky sermons. Oh, a few have popped up over the years and I make sure I prepare one for GenCon every year but at the churches I serve I tend to not head in that area.
This year will be different and I hope you will be praying for me. I’ve decided to go with the theme of “A Very Sci-Fi Christmas” and hope it will work out alright. The sermons which I will be preaching, yet sadly unable to video, will be:
Advent 1: The Sleeper Must Awaken (Dune)
Advent 2: The Eye of Harmony (Dr. Who)
Advent 3: The Road Warrior (Mad Max)
Advent 4: The Last Starfighter
It’s quite an eclectic bent and I’m still a little unsteady about it all but I think it will go well. The biggest challenge is trying to sum up a variety of movies and TV shows from the 70s and 80s to people who may not have seen them. If you think you can some up any of these movies in two to three short sentences, please feel free to do so in the comments section. If you’re able to help out, so much the better. Crowd sourcing a sermon, which I’ve done in the past, can be quite a bit of fun.
At the very least, this means I’ve got to go back and review a lot of source material. Yes, it’s going to be tough watching all these movies and reading all these biblical texts and see how these stories intertwine. (Unfortunately, you can’t hear the happy sounds I’m making as I type this right now. In reality, I’m hoping this is going to be a lot of fun. So, again, I ask that you say a prayer or two for me and, barring that, please help me find a copy of Mad Max 2 on DVD. It’s the only one I’m missing.)
October 17, 2013
Go. Go. Go.
It’s just too hectic for most folks I know. I’m fortunate that, for the most part, I order my own schedule. I have set things that need to be done but there is a great flexibility to my life that many others do not have.
This often puts me in an awkward place because, as a pastor, it can seem frustrating when other people can’t seem to get their spiritual life on track. Of course, that’s silliness on our part and most ministers eventually realize others life schedules are often more rigid.
How do we handle it? How do guide those who seem so locked into their schedules they can find time for their own seeking of God much more the community of faith?
First, we’ve got to realize Just because our spiritual practices were done in a particular manner years ago does not mean they have to continue that way forever. Yes, I know you’ve been taught otherwise but that’s just not how life works.
If you’re a Tabletop Gamer, I’m pretty sure you play very differently than you did 20 years ago. At least I hope you do or your going to be stuck in such a rut that you’re no longer fun to play with. Hopefully you’ve been learning new strategies over the years and better ways to enjoy the game. I’m sure you’ve even had to learn to reschedule your “play time” around spouse time, kid’s time, and work time.
This is because jobs change, schedules change, homes change, and preferences and attitudes change. At one time in my life, I’d take a five minute break at work and go into the restroom and pray in a corner. (You could lock the door. That helped a lot.) It was the only place I could find to be alone. You often find you do what you can, when you can, and wherever you can to just get through the day. Gaming is the same way and the spiritual life is the same way. You find a way to make room for that which you enjoy.
For me this means after dropping my daughter off at school, I spend many mornings at Sonic. I grab a bite to eat and read my friends prayers and devotionals as they come across Facebook. It’s definitely a change from the way I prayed and read two decades ago. I’m also fortunate because it suits me.
But even this needs changing up. I can’t stay in the same pattern all the time because I tend to stagnate. I feel the need to “flow with the go.” There’s a desire in me to go and be…a desire to move and dance with the Spirit and I have learned this means I must change things up. Flow into different patterns and places so I might be able to see God’s movement in the world around me. It allows me to see Jesus in ways I’ve never seen Him before.
So, are you willing to change the manner of your spiritual practices over the years? Are you willing to let the Spirit’s wind move you into different and exciting places? These are the places where we find God making order out of what appears to be a chaotic life.
At the very least, change up your gaming style. It will make your friends much happier and bring a bit more excitement to the Table.
September 30, 2013
The Core of a Tree
I have come to really enjoy trees over the past few years. My wife has helped me take notice of this beautiful part of creation in its varied forms. As fall approaches, I’m sure most of you will look at the subtle change of colors as they parade across the leaves. Some of you will be excited by these colorful changes while others will dread the leaves and limbs which will need cleaning up. I also think many of you will be like me and look at it as a mixed blessing. Yes, we’ve got leaves and limbs on the ground but we also have this wonderful bit of change coming our way giving us a glimpse into the color filled world around us.
This is the way most of us approach change. Many are excited about change and will embrace it at a moments notice. Others are frightened of change because they’re thinking of all the things that can go wrong. The rest of us are both excited and worried at the same time. Therefore, with change in the air, we will begin a series of messages on “Core Christianity” in October. We will try and live into the old saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s my hope and prayer these messages will bring change into lives and place us in some uncomfortable spots. However, I also want us to see and share the joy, which I hope they will also bring.
These messages will center on what I believe is the “heartwood” of Christianity. “What is heartwood,” you ask? Heartwood is, according to www.biology-online.org, “The central wood in a branch or stem characterized by being composed of dead cells, more resistant to decay, generally darker and harder than the outer wood.” There is some debate over whether heartwood is truly dead or not because chemical reactions continue to occur in the wood. The point I find really interesting is the heartwood is the densest part of a tree and is very resistant to decay. It is, in essence, the core of the tree doesn’t rot very easily!
This is what we will be discussing over the next few weeks. What keeps our faith resistant to decay? What keeps it fragrant and as wonderful smelling as heartwood? It’s turning to the CORE: a Caring, Open, Resurrecting, Encounter with Christ.
It is my hope you will join us over the next few weeks and invite your friends as well. We will begin by talking about Faith and Grace as we move on toward The Cross and The Resurrection. Discipleship plays an essential role in this series and we will close with two compelling and interconnected Christian beliefs: Sin and Forgiveness. Please keep these messages in your prayers over the next month as I hope they will transform the heartwood at the core of our being.
God’s Best Always and in All Ways,
Pastor Derek White
September 4, 2013
Getting Started at GenCon 2013
Sorry I haven’t blogged for some time. Life has been kicking me around with the busyness of everything. Long story short? Moved to a new charge in June of this year (United Methodist speak for moving to a new church and/or churches). Just a few days after the move, I headed to a worship conference in Florida to spend time with my mentor, Leonard Sweet. The folks at the Institute for Worship Studies really know how to blend together those Ancient/Future streams.
After just a few days there, I headed off to Cambridge, England for my Doctoral class. My time was filled with difficulty and joy. My friend’s rental car broke down on the M25 and turned a short trip from London to Cambridge into a seven hour roller coaster ride. This is the difficult part which is now a joy to remember. I also saw beautiful sites, while hanging out with my George Fox cohort, and I also got to know some of the Westcott House students at Cambridge.
I want to take time to thank one of those students, Mae Mouk, for showing me around. It’s quite amazing to end up in Cambridge, England and find someone studying for the ministry who just happens to have grown up in the same area of Louisiana as I did. There’s a certain level of synchronicity in all of this and I found it to be a grand time. (Plus, Westcott House rocks. I’m going to have to find a way to go back there some day and just audit one of their classes. It’s a place that’s filled with an evangelical spirit and a robust love for liturgy.)
I also spent some time in London and was able to visit Wesley Chapel. In fact, this evening at church I will be sharing some more pictures at church and talking a bit about Wesley’s England. It will be a good introduction into a two week discussion I will be doing on “Why I’m a Methodist.” As usual, if you stop by, I don’t think you’re going to get what you might expect. (For example, check out my last post on Celebrationism.)
After returning home from England, I had to prepare for GenCon. Ever since my first GenCon in 2007, where I had the pleasure of meeting E. Gary Gygax, this has become a great time of geekpreaching. I go to other gaming conventions to game but GenCon is the place where I’m truly ministering day in and day out and I love it! (Briefly define ministry…sharing the love of Christ as I see it in the world around me. Praying with those who just need a listening ear in the midst of the fun time of GenCon. Talking with industry folks who are struggling to make ends meet. This is the nuts and bolts.)
Oh, it’s draining on a number of levels and this year was even more so because I spent a great deal of time “manning” the The Christian Gamers Guild and Fans for Christ booth which was sponsored by Gamechurch.com. Yes, three Christian groups with different flavors and backgrounds supporting one another. It’s a novel idea, eh?
I also want to mention Mike Perna. He has a podcast called Gamestore Prophets and we were able to spend some time together. Mike is good people and one of the few I’ve met over the years who have served in active, vocational ministry and seem to “get it” when we talk about the “Geek Gospel.” Oh, I’ve met quite a few other ministers but not all of them are able to fuse those two worlds together. For some, there is the ministry and there is geekiness. They switch one off and switch the other one on. Other ministers show up out of a genuine interest in geek culture and this leads to amazing conversations. Some, I just haven’t figured out yet and that’s okay. Probably means they’re a geek.
Then you’ve got guys like Perna. He gets it. Minister’s like Mike realize we’re geeks at our very core and that’s what makes us love theology, history, gaming, Dr. Who, D&D, and a wide range of other things. There’s something about the geek gospel that draws us to the misfits. Maybe it’s because we’ve been misfits and outsiders ourselves. Maybe it’s because this Jesus guy is still considered a bastard guy by some folks (and from a possible reading of John but, more importantly, he hung out with a lot of misfits as well.
All those levels of cleric are finally working....
Now, back on track. Also at GenCon, I hosted the Christianity and Gaming Panel this year. We had a great time with Dave Mattingly, Jayson Elliott, and Larry Elmore and it generated more discussion than I’ve seen in the past. Hopefully, my friends will have those videos edited and ready to go really soon. I also preached the sermon at the annual GenCon Worship service and Tom Vasel led the worship. I really enjoyed it and thank Dave for giving me that standing invitation.
So, long story short, I got to talk with some great folks, meet with old friends, and pray with more folks than I’ve ever prayed with at GenCon. I like to think this comes from having a relationship of trust that’s built up over the years. For a long time, people would ask me if I was “for real” or just someone who downloaded an ordination certificate off the internet. Quite a few wondered if I was going to pull out a Bible and bang them over the head with it. Some were worried my only goal was to get them into my particular “brand” of religion.
Over the years, it’s taken some time to built up a certain level of trust and a major part of that comes from being authentic. You will find that I’m pretty much the same guy all the time. I might be a bit more intense in some situations but still the same person.
Last, but not least, I couldn’t do this ministry unless I was a pastor. I often feel overwhelmed by wearing so many frakkin’ hats but I’ve found out much of the trust I have in the geek community comes from being connected to a local church. I’m not just someone floating out in the world but a genuine minister with training and experience. The fact I serve churches seems to make people relax because they know I’m connected to people in real time.
While all of this costs me a lot physically, mentally, and financially, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. What kind of geek would I be to give up all these great learning experiences that I get to share with others each and every day?
June 23, 2013
Recently, I’ve heard Leonard Sweet ask two different groups, “In 2017, should we celebrate the birth of Protestantism or its death?”
Here are my thoughts after a lengthy tour of colleges in Cambridge which were founded by Christians advocating learning and scholarship. A good bit also comes from conversations with Len as well as our group advances.
May 31, 2013
For a long time, I would feel guilty because certain things seem to come easy to me. It felt as if I was cheating because my own natural talents allowed me to do certain things faster and better than others. It also made it much easier to slack off on certain things…or at least I thought it did.
However, during a recent conversation with some good friends I was reminded of Sunday’s Scripture from Romans 5. Here is a portion, “We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
I’d found out the word boast, in this context, may be paraphrased to mean “lift up to God as an offering.” And now the light bulb has gone off once more.
Only in recent years have I been more open about my personal medical problems. None of them are life threatening but they do make it difficult for me to do certain things. It’s only by an act of grace that I can sit down with others for a few hours without having to get up. I also have other issues, that for someone in my profession, make it much more difficult.
So, while thinking on the Romans passage, I have to say my natural gifts…those things granted to me by God…are necessary. Without them, I’d never be able to do anything. I’ve also found that pride takes over and I attribute these gifts to myself when my health is going great.
So, this suffering of illness has led me to endurance and has helped increase my character. My illness has helped me hone my natural gifts and spend more time making strange and often synchronistic connections.
In the end, I take these talents and gifts and “boast” in them by giving them back to God as an offering. Ever remembering that the treasures I’ve been gifted with are not to be hoarded but shared with the world around me.
April 25, 2013
Lent is not too far behind us and we are in the midst of the Easter Season. It’s quite an interesting time because the Bishop of the Memphis Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Bill McAlilly, has called us to forty days of prayer before our Annual Conference.
For those of you who don’t know what an Annual Conference is, it’s a general meeting of United Methodist ministers and church leaders that occurs every year. We go over budgets for our area, clergy appointments, and a variety of other things. Honestly, it seems to me to be a lot of boring meetings with a few sermons squeezed in to try and keep us awake during business sessions. (Oxymoron, anyone?) There is a Bible study or two but I often spend this time catching up with colleagues. Hooo, boy, brutal honesty here, right? Hopefully, the Bishop doesn’t read my blog….
So, the Bishop has called me to prayer before Annual Conference and I don’t like it. I’ve just gotten through Lent where I really experienced some great things and now I’m being asked to intentionally pray for another 40 days? And I’m being asked to pray for a conference I find boring?
My heart grumbles and moans at this but since the Bishop has went to the trouble to put together a prayer guide on his daily blog, I can at least look at it. After all, he’s in my blog stream so maybe this will help me out, right? Plus, it is using the same technology which has really helped my devotional life so I guess I will go for it. Heck, it even seems he is using guest bloggers so it should have some variety.
So, here I am at Day Two of this time of prayer and this is the question that comes up in the blog:
When was the last time you felt bathed in God’s majestic presence? When was the last time you recognized God’s presence in the ordinary, mundane circumstances of day-to-day living?
And I don’t like it…at least the first half of the question. In fact, the story shared made me feel out of sync with God. I tried to remember one of those majestic moments and nothing recently came up. Oh, I’ve shared how God has graciously provided for me of late and there was definitely a sense of the Divine Presence but nothing so grand and majestic as described in the article.
My thing is that, for some time now, I’ve been finding God in the most mundane of places and events. It hasn’t been any great or overwhelming feeling of presence but, rather, a sure and steady recognition of presence in the world around me.
A Kindergarten Teacher at Play
As I read Reverend Bettye Lewis on the Bishop’s blog today, I began thinking about where I’ve seen God’s presence most recently and I began to remember yesterday evening. My wife, Kindergarten teacher supreme, purchases caterpillars for her class every year so her children can watch them eat their food, spin a chrysalis, and then transform into butterflies. It’s an amazing and wonderful thing and she is often known as the “Butterfly Lady” because of it. (I remember one year when she took our daughter to a butterfly release and their picture was in the local paper. She’s been doing this for some time.)
This year my wife did something I don’t remember her doing in the past. She bought an extra set of caterpillars and kept them at home. She’s been showing it to our 3.9674 year old son and, last evening, she took the chrysalis’ out of their little tub and put them into their butterfly garden. When they come out of their cocoon, we will be able to see their beautiful wings open up.
It was a wonderful time and, as a minister, I find it filled with wonderful metaphor. I mean, come on, it’s Easter season. This is a simple one, right? I should go into the story of death and rebirth. Isn’t this a resurrection? At the very least, it’s a transformation. We see this when the caterpillar becomes a butterfly so, naturally, this is where any preacher should go.
Where did I see God in this moment? Did I see God in the miracle of a transforming caterpillar? No, in this most extraordinarily mundane moment, I saw God in my wife’s smile and my son’s curiosity. Yes, it’s that simple. No real deep metaphor or super spiritual statement. Just the joy my wife has in doing the same thing year after year. She’s never bored with it and loves watching it every time. Her excitement never wanes. My son is seeing this for the first time and I’m amazed at his gentleness and curiosity. In these moments, I find God looking back at me and asking me, “Derek, where is your curiosity? Where is your gentleness? Where is your excitement in the ebb and flow of daily life?”
I’m not bowled over by God’s presence but I’m humbled by the questions that arise in my heart. I’m not sent to my knees weeping tears of repentance nor am I jumping to my feet shouting and full of joy. I’m just sitting back and smiling knowing that God is right there in the room with me smiling back through the eyes of my family.
Thank you, Jesus.
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April 5, 2013
Ministry and Community in a Digital Age
What I’m about to share with you brings me both joy and sadness. Joy in the story I’m sharing and sadness because it still needs to be shared. For the last few years, I have been hearing a number of ministerial leaders talk about “unplugging” from Facebook, Twitter, and other various forms of social media. The reasons often given go something like this, “Real community isn’t being built,” or “Social media is a waste of a good minister’s time.” (I don’t quite get that last bit. If it’s a waste of a good minister’s time, does that mean it’s NOT a waste of a bad minister’s time?)
For those of you who have come to know me over the years, I take such things rather personally. I’ve been actively online since 1994 and from the beginning I became a part of a variety of emerging online communities. Over the last twenty years, a number of the people I’ve met online have gone out of their way to meet me face-to-face and I’ve done the same thing. Many have shared the joys of marriage, the birth of children and grandchildren, as well as many other normal joys found in our lives. Quite a few have also shared the sorrow of losing a spouse, a parent, and/or a beloved friend. In many cases, I’ve stayed in touch with these people online much more readily than my own family.
I should pause and mention I’m doing better at staying in touch with my family now that they’ve become more active online. When I talk to my older brother and try and update him on what’s going in my life, he tells me one of his children has already shared some of it with him because of my Facebook updates.
Now that we have these connections established, let’s talk about cake and community in the digital age. A number of months back, I was sitting in front of my computer screen when a post popped up by one of my parishioners.* She said that she was in need of a cat carrier and wondered if anyone might have one they’d be willing to loan her. I immediately responded that I had one and would be happy to bring it to her. She sent me a message and asked when I could bring it. I replied, “Is now okay?”
She agreed and my wife and I drove to her home. It’s not a long drive since she only lives half a mile away. When we arrived, I noticed she did not seem to be feeling well and openly wondered why she was still in town as she normally leaves the area for a warmer climate during the winter months. She then shared with my wife and me some physical problems that had arisen. This particular ailment was keeping her at home for the most part and she wanted the cat carrier as she was getting a kitty to keep her company.
As we talked, I mentioned that I found it providential to have come across her post on Facebook, as I would not have known otherwise. In fact, I most likely would have made that fatal ministerial error of assumption. That is, until otherwise alerted, I would have assumed everything was all right. After mentioning Facebook, this wonderful lady then said the most marvelous thing, “I’ve found Facebook to be full of spiritual people.”
She then proceeded to talk about a number of faith conversations she would have online and then shared a rather surprising and engaging story with me. (First, I must preface this by saying a few things. One, this lady of whom I am speaking is in her mid to late 80s; two, she is an early adopter; and three, I pastor two churches a little over five miles apart. The importance of the last will become clearer as I go on.)
Her story began by mentioning a number of conversations she’d had with a lady who attends the other church I pastor. The friend from the other church is in her late 50s or early 60s and, like the one battling illness, is also single. She then proceeded to talk about how they had begun to develop a really good friendship. In fact, one day when she wasn’t feeling quite well her online and face-to-face neighbor stopped by and they had cake. If I’m remembering right, they had a two-hour conversation concerning the difficulties of living the single life.
This may not seem like much to some of you but for these two ladies it was a very meaningful experience. I also found it to be a very powerful story for a number of reasons. As someone who pastors two churches, it has been my experience that people in separate congregations often do not spend much time together even when the churches share a pastor. Second, these are two people many would think are not in the “internet demographic.” People, especially ministers, often think that the digital age is the domain of the young but that’s just not true. It is a place where two grown women have used social media to do just that…. be social! There is so much people of all ages could learn from them.
In reflecting back on this story, I can see how God’s prevenient grace is at work. Yes, lots of coincidences could have occurred but I see someone powerful behind it all. I just happened to be on Facebook at the right moment for this to come across my feed and this person just happened to have a story to share with me showing something very powerful about social media. Yes, I believe the Spirit will guide us into divine encounters through online engagement when we are open to such things.
In these moments, I get to see a piece of community built between two people who may not have the opportunity to interact without this medium we call the internet. Two people who found it easier to begin faith discussions online and they let this carry over into real life.
I’m sharing this story because I want us to build real communities. Virtual communities that lead to face-to-face communities and face-to-face communities that lead to virtual ones. This life is about connection. We connect to one another and, in doing so; we connect God to all of the lives we touch.
I hope you will share this blog with all of your friends. If you’re a part of a church, I hope you’re using this medium to the best of your ability and continue to do so.
*Both of these church members have given me permission to share this story but I’ve left out their names to give them a bit of privacy. Those who live in the area will know who they are and that’s what matters the most.